Potential Research Projects: All of these assume at least 10-20 hr / week in lab.
Short term (1 semester)
• Clone a gene expressed in somatosensory neurons. Carefully document the spatial and temporal characteristics of its expression. Overexpress the gene product via mRNA injection to assess its effects on somatosensory development.
Medium term (1 - 1.5 year)
• Make transgenic line that inducibly overexpresses a gene. Analyze the effect of overexpression on development or behavior, especially with regard to somatosensation.
• Make a transgenic line that expresses a reporter gene (eg GFP) in a specific neuronal cell type. Via live imaging of transgenic animals, examine the dynamics of this cell type as it develops and connects with the rest of the nervous system.
• Carefully analyze the phenotype of a mutation in a gene expressed in somatosensory neurons.
Long term (2-3.5 years) ie. get into the lab early - Freshman or Sophomore year, and often.
Should result in a nice paper with some luck and perseverance.
• Plan, develop, build, and test equipment and software necessary to measure and analyze anxiety behaviors in larval zebrafish.
• Make a mutation in a gene of interest, document the mutant phenotype, and explore mechanisms of function.